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a380900
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A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:15 pm

I've been wondering about the following: why did Airbus, who showed the way to twin engine wide-bodies with the A300, decide to build a four engine such as the A340?

Boeing made the choice of a twin for this market segment.

It seems to me that Airbus used the A340 as a stepping stone to build the A380. They wanted to prove their ability to build a four engine because they knew it would be necessary if they wanted to ever dislodge the 747 of its throne.

So, if Airbus had not tried to establish itself as a 4 engine plane maker with the A380 in mind, would the A340 have existed or only a larger A330? Was the A340 a necessary mistake?
 
777ER
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:44 pm

Probably no one can really answer your question A380900, unless a member works for Airbus in France. But I will try my very best to answer your question.

Airbus probably built the A340 with 4 engines because the B747 model was a success at operating long haul routes. If I am correct that the B777 was not even built when the A340 entered flight testing then maybe Airbus didn't think that it would be possible to only use 2 engines at the time. Maybe the lack of technology also affected the decision. Boeing had already proved that four engines could safly power a jumbo-jet so I don't think that the A340 using 4 engines had a big factor in the A380s design.

would the A340 have existed or only a larger A330? I personally think the A330 has been streched to its limits. If an A330-400 was built then Airbus would need to build new wings and undercarrage to handle the extra weight.
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Leskova
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:58 pm

Did Airbus make a mistake in producing the A340? 352 orders (for an aircraft family that has 824 orders for its two members, the A330 and A340) don't really seem like that much of a mistake to me...

True, I was also surprised at the time, having seen Airbus as a twin-manufacturer... but, then again, relative to today there were still quite a few more trijets and quads flying around then, something that has changed a lot through the B777 and A330.

But, in any case, I'd say that calling the A340 a mistake is going too far.

Regards,
Frank
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Tasha
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:10 pm

Did Airbus make a mistake with the A340? I guess that depends on how you look at it. If you look at it from the standpoint of being a precursor for the A380 only - then yes; if you look at it as a stopgap measure till the A380 - then yes; if you look at the A380 as an evolution - then no.

The A340 is not one of my favorite aircraft. I find it to be ungainly in appearance and rather cramped. It had a loud cabin and the take-off role gave me concern if it would ever get airborne.

Airbus didn't need the A340 to do engineering for the A380. The A380 is a leap of imagination, just like the B747 was in the mid-late 1960's. However, Boeing needed all the help it could get for the B747 as nothing of the sort existed before. This said, I think no one will argue that the A380 is much less of a leap over the current generation of aircraft (or at all considering materials, engineering, and construction only) than the B747 was over the than current generation (B707, DC8, etc).

True enough, if you were to timewarp someone from 1968 to see the design and assembly of the A380 in progress, they would think that they were on Star Trek - the same however is true of the B777 and especially the upcoming 7e7 which will stretch the bounds of materials and technology to new limits.

Tasha  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

[Edited 2004-07-20 08:13:28]
 
transPac
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:27 pm

First things first, I don't think there is any basis for calling the A340 a mistake (unless of course you are buying one instead of a 777 Big grin har har har). It has served Airbus's purposes nicely and was/is a necessary development in their product line. It knocked out the MD-11 and is still a serious competitor to the 777.
 
spacecadet
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:46 pm

I believe the A340 was produced to avoid any ETOPS restrictions.

IIRC the A330 is the same plane, but with two engines, so airlines can have their cake and eat it too.
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scbriml
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 5:31 pm

The A340 is not one of my favorite aircraft. I find it to be ungainly in appearance and rather cramped. It had a loud cabin and the take-off role gave me concern if it would ever get airborne.

Ungainly In the eye of the beholder.  Love

rather cramped Depends which cabin and which airline, not Airbus' call.

loud cabin The A340 is widely acknowledged to be the quietest long hauler out there, but maybe you just have very sensitive ears.  Big grin

As has already been pointed out, the A340 has sold in reasonable numbers (c/f L-1011 250, MD-11 200), and, despite ConcordeBoy's persistence  Big grin, is a valid competitor to the 777. Most importantly, it is still selling.
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voodoo
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 5:52 pm

The 340 was supposed to have had 4x ultra-efficient but complex `superfan' engines. Basically nacelle-enclosed geared propfans. The engine technology didn't make it to fruition, at least in terms of customer satisfaction with potential reliability of gearing etc. so, almost at the last possible moment in terms of design freeze, they had to downgrade to the CFM 56s.

Needless to say if they couldn't get superfan tech. to work for the 4x smaller diameter engines, they weren't even thinking of a superfan twin version. But the 330-300 was planned all along as a medium hauler.

Considering all the mucking about and design compromises (same wing for twin 330 and quad 340) , it turned out quite well in the end, even if less favourably than the more straightforward 777.

[Edited 2004-07-20 10:54:10]
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na
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 8:29 pm

Tasha,
your comment of the A340 being loud is nothing but ridiculous as it is acknowledged its one of the quietest airliners, if not the quietest. Its the qietest and smoothest aircraft I´ve ever been on. If you find a A340 loud what about the "noisier" 777?
And "Ungainly"? It´s all personal taste, and for some plain stupid patriotism rules (which is known to cause blindness!). I for myself think its a beautyqueen if standing next to the disproportioned, awkward looking 777-300. But what the heck, some like this thing too, and I don´t care. As a designer you learn and have to accept that there are many people with bad taste around!
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 9:50 pm

I believe the A340 was produced to avoid any ETOPS restrictions.

That was onlly part of the reason. Four engines can (all other things being equal) give weight savings over two since less total thrust is required. The A340 is very efficient on the very long haul, and that's why it was built the way it was. That's also why the takeoff performance is nothing to write home about. Takeoff is not where the money is made.
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UTA_flyinghigh
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 9:57 pm

I would just like to add that the A330/A340 dual aircraft development existed form the very beginning when these were only concepts; the A330 was project "TA9" and the A340 project "TA11".
So no, these weren't mistakes but the fruit of smart product planning.

UTA

Edit to say that PW was supposed to build the SuperFan but in the end CFM had to rescue the programme with its CFM56-5C engine.

[Edited 2004-07-20 14:58:20]
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VSXA380X800
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:11 pm

They wanted to prove their ability to build a four engine.

Like boeing with the 707 and the 747
4 decks 4 engines 4 long haul
 
L.1011
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:25 pm

Edit to say that PW was supposed to build the SuperFan

Actually, it was IAE.
 
gigneil
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:33 pm

There's also the mentality that they wanted to build a non-trijet long haul aircraft, and, at the time they started, the 777 was an itch in Boeing's crotch. 4 small engines seemed to be the way to do it.

N
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:36 pm

I would just like to add that the A330/A340 dual aircraft development existed form the very beginning when these were only concepts; the A330 was project "TA9" and the A340 project "TA11".
So no, these weren't mistakes but the fruit of smart product planning.


The A340 was planned as a trijet but this would make a common fuselage and common wing impossible. Airbus switched to a quad arrangement with 4 IAE engines, IAE dropped the ball, Airbus went with CFM.

That's also why the takeoff performance is nothing to write home about. Takeoff is not where the money is made.

Tell that to SQ  Big grin
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Joni
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:37 pm


One reason they built a 4-engine widebody was customer preference. Airbus was planning to build a larger plane, and queried the prospective customers. In Asia, the preference was for 4 engines and in the US, for 2. The Euros were a mixed bag. This info is from a book "Airbus" that I probably still have somewhere.

 
Scorpio
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:48 pm

DfwRevolution,

The A340 was planned as a trijet but this would make a common fuselage and common wing impossible. Airbus switched to a quad arrangement with 4 IAE engines, IAE dropped the ball, Airbus went with CFM.

Actually, the A340, or 'TA11' was planned to be a four-holer from the very beginning. A bit of hindsight: In the late 1970s, Airbus was studying many different new planes, all of which evolved from the original A300B. The studies were referred to as 'A300B5, B6,...' Around this time, 3 studies were showing potential: the B9, B10 and B11. The B9 was sort af a super-sized A300: larger wing, more powerful engines, longer fuselage. The B10 had a shorter fuselage, smaller wing and less powerful engines. The B11 had a fuselage similar to the B10, i.e. shorter than the A300, but a new wing with four engines, and was planned as a long-range replacement for the 707 and DC-8.

The B10 was given priority and was developed as the A310. The other studies eventually evolved into the TA9 and TA11, and later the A330 and A340. The TA11 evolved into a much larger plane than originally planned, and it was only then that Airbus realised both projects could be developed with the same wing. The rest, as they say, is history.

[Edited 2004-07-20 16:49:51]
 
MD80Nut
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:54 pm

The A340 is part of the A330/A340 family, and with over 350 units sold (better than the L-1011 or MD11) it certainly wasn't a mistake. It's four engines free it from ETOPS and combined with the A330, it gives smaller airlines which fly long haul the flexibility to mix and match airplanes depending on the route. I believe the twin A330/four A340 combination is a brilliant marketing move, and with over 800 units sold and still climbing, a successful move at that!

I must disagree with Tasha's description of the A340. I've flown on the A340-200 and found it to be quiet and comfortable. Certainly not cramped!

cheers, Ralph
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longhauler
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 12:03 am

I recall reading several years ago, as the A340 and A330 were being developed, there was a point in distance, where a 4 engine aircraft was more efficient than a 2 engine aircraft of the same size/weight.

I do not recall the distance, (It was somewhere around 4000 nm), but the Airbus engineers claimed that over a longer and longer distance, and as the aircraft got heavier and heavier to carry all that fuel, having 2 HUGE engines was less efficient that 4 smaller engines.

At cruise, where X amount of thrust was required, 2 large engines were burning more than 4 small engines. On shorter routes this would over come the less efficient 4 engine configuration, but at some point it would equal, then as the route got longer, the 4 engine aircraft had the edge.
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caetravlr
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 1:43 am

Longhauler, you took the words right out of my mouth.

I read the same thing, that the A330 design was more efficient on shorter and medium haul routes, and the A340 was more efficient on the longer routes. I think it was a pretty good move based on the studies they had done, and it was the right product mix to offer the airliners.

As for as the aesthetics of the plane, I have to agree with Tasha, and I don't believe that in my case it has anything to do with patriotism. I have always been much more partial to the design of the Boeing aircraft than any other make, including McDonnell Douglas and Airbus. It is strictly an opinion, and what I enjoy viewing more.
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BWIA 772
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 2:10 am

The A340 is the quietest aircraft I ever flew on. So much so that when the landing geared is lowered the noise increase is so dramtic that I noticed it. That being said the aircraft is not bad but seeing it on the tarmac next to a Boeing 777 the 777 was the better looking aircraft in my opinion. Also I really dont like the 342 and 343 interms of look because of the size of their engines. The 345 and 346 are better.
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ConcordeBoy
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 2:19 am

*struggles*
Must... not... post....

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boysteve
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 2:33 am

Is it not a matter of range? The A330 is not sufficient for routes such as LHR-SIN or LHR - HKG for example. Also what about trans-pacific routes.
 
Tom in NO
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 3:24 am

ConcordeBoy: No holding back here. The a.net community anxiously awaits your comments with baited (get it?!) breath.

Tom at MSY
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ConcordeBoy
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 3:42 am

...so does VC10-- I ain't bitin'  Laugh out loud
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wdleiser
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 4:31 am

I actually love the A340's mainly because I love Lufthansa. I must say at times I find the engines to be amazingly loud. In June I had the chance to fly LH's 744 and A340-300 and I found the 744 to be much more quiet... probably because I was in the cockpit for the take off and landing and thats where the A340 is the loudest.

I find the A340 to have plenty of room.
 
ltbewr
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 4:52 am

Several years ago, I was on a LH A340, with a full load of pax AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA-EWR. Yes, they do seem to take longer to take off, but at most airports, that really isn't an issue. I found it to be quiet and confortable, and I liked the slightly larger windows vs. the 747.
I would suspect that the A340 was designed to be a Euro competitor of the 747, so Euro based airlines would have a choice in large a/c, especially with the declining interest in Tri-jets. I suspect that Airbus believed that 4 engines on the wings would have fewer critical design, engineering and maintenance issues vs. 3 holers yet there was a need for something in the size/capacity/ range of those a/c as well as the 747. I wouldn't say it was a mistake at all. That they also offer the A330, a slightly smaller and 2 engined version of the A340, and using many of the same structural components means spreading some of the engineering/development costs of that capacity class of a/c over more produced a/c.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 5:01 am

There is no doubt that compared to a 3-holer, a 4-holer has huge advantages, which explains why Airbus didn't make a 3-holer.

3-holers have problems with:
- Maintenance work on the tail engine. High up and stuff.
- Fuel, compressed air and hydraulic ducting to the tail engine.
- Complicated tail construction whichever way you do it.
- Strengthening of tail.
- Need to shield critical components in tail (control runs to surfaces) from possible engine fire/fan blade failure, etc...)
- and so on.

In any case, the A340 really comes into it's own on the very long haul. Sure it's a bit slower than the 777, but then again 30 minutes more on a 12 hour flight are pretty irrelevant, especially as you can easily spend an hour holding...



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
warren747sp
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 6:20 am

I have to agree with Tasha on the take-off performance of the A343.
So much so, I have decided not fly CI on their TPE-JFK run.
It will use up almost the entire runway and just barely get off the ground.
Due to its extremely slow climb, we are subjected to buffeting in the clouds for a much longer period of time than say a 744. An hour into the flight and we are still not at 20000ft and the weather is usually nasty in the winter between Taiwan and Japan and around Japan.
747SP
 
Tobetruie
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 6:23 am

I've recently flown on a B777 (Varig-Rubens Berta 75) - and if you ask, yes it was for a girl, thanks Internet... - and i have to say I took a punch in my face. Quiet with a great reliability for the engines. Never felt such a security impression before. And I've been passenger of B737, 747, 767, A319, 320, and more...

And what "killed me", is the personal screen (PTV) in economic class. And, to end my post : Varig's service rocks. Nice crew and good food.

But sorry, I've never been in a 340... I can't compare. But for me, at this time, the B777 is THE Dreamliner !!!

Regards
Te amo Ana, hasta siempre
 
Sabena 690
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 6:40 am

Warren747: my house in Belgium is located at about 20 minutes flighttime from Paris CDG. Allmost all heavies from CDG to Asia pass over my house.

If I follow your logic, it has to be very strange that all A330/A340/B777/B747 aircraft that pass on a daily base above my head have about the same altitude?

x all have the same altitude
x all are here within approximately 23 minutes from CDG

Frederic

 
Blackbird1331
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 6:51 am

Tobetruie: Punched in the face by a girl? If she did not like you, why should we? She must have been a relative of a Boeing employee.  Smile The A340 looks great in flight, and I cannot recall any major issues with the A340. How much of a mistake could it have been?

Cameras shoot pictures. Guns shoot people. They have the guns.
 
Tobetruie
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 7:19 am

Oh Dear (Meu Deus, in brasilian) !

My English is terrible (terrivel).

Of course, it's the B777 that punched me... But you're right, the girl did too. Suppose she works for Embraer and I'm a fond of Boeing !

No, the truth is elsewhere... Love made me travel, and I got lucky to have a B777. You're right pal, the girl broke my heart, but I have a compensation : a marvelous flight, very quiet, thanks to the Triple777 (Triple seche) !

Obrigada "Internetch" which makes humans being fool enough to cross the Oceans, only god knows why... At the end, congratulations to the planes manufacturers. They make dreams (love ?) come true, without frontiers...

But for me, may be next time  Wink/being sarcastic

Regards
Te amo Ana, hasta siempre
 
Ken777
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 7:34 am

For me the primary factor in determining if the 340 was a mistake would be how financially successful it is when all is said and done. Second profitable it is with the airlines. To some degree this is similar to my little one man business: gotta make the customers happy or they spend their money somewhere else in the future.
 
boysteve
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 7:56 am

Warren747,
I have trouble believing that an hour into flight the A340 has not reached 20,000feet! I have seen Air Jamaica's A343 take off from MAN several times, and yes it is a bit slow to get up in the air, but not that much!
 
Blackbird1331
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 8:12 am

Tobetruie: The best thing that can happen to you is that you fall in love with a female A340 pilot. Good luck.
Cameras shoot pictures. Guns shoot people. They have the guns.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 8:31 am

Why fly vertically off the end of the runway if you don't have to? I am quite confident that the A340 can be quite sprightly in takeoff and climb if required. But if it isn't required, why spend the extra money on engine maintenance for full power takeoffs? It's just a derated takeoff. Airlines like derated takeoffs since they save lots of $$$.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Tasha
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 8:46 am

NA:

"Tasha,
your comment of the A340 being loud is nothing but ridiculous as it is acknowledged its one of the quietest airliners, if not the quietest. Its the qietest and smoothest aircraft I´ve ever been on. If you find a A340 loud what about the "noisier" 777?
And "Ungainly"? It´s all personal taste, and for some plain stupid patriotism rules (which is known to cause blindness!). I for myself think its a beautyqueen if standing next to the disproportioned, awkward looking 777-300. But what the heck, some like this thing too, and I don´t care. As a designer you learn and have to accept that there are many people with bad taste around!"

All of it is taste, except the noise level. I haven't had much experiance with the A340 except with an LH flight from DFW to AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA. That A340 was very loud inside - it was very smooth I grant you, but loud. It was as loud to me as a B737. Perhaps it was only a one off....

Beauty queen.. the A340 LOL!!!!  Laugh out loud Now I know you have a sense of humor.

Tasha  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
Lufthansa
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:41 am

Concordeboy!

WELL DONE!!!!! you resisted temptation! So, today is the day, you get my respect. It's been a long time comming.... so "feel the love and enjoy it while it lasts"....  Love So today is the day we buy you a bier at the German-Australian club....  Smile/happy/getting dizzy (relax...carlsberg not fosters)

Credit where credit is due! You never know what may lay in store if you keep this up. What can i say? I'm impressed!

Cheers
LH
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:57 am

A340NGs have been ordered on this day... so depressing that I wasn't even in the mood to tap my oil well of anti-A340 sarcasm.

*sigh*
must be losing m'touch  Crying
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
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BlueSky1976
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:37 am

Tasha,

I have to disagree. A340-300 IS quiet. Quieter than A330-200 and A330-300 and YES, it's quieter than Boeing 777-200.

As far as the looks go - agreed. Nothing beats 777-200. Not even 7E7.
Proudly avoiding 737 MAX since 18.11.2020.
 
pbogdos
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 11:09 am

THE A340 IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE AIRCRAFT TO FLY IN. SEATS ARE CRAMMED, LOUSY INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT.
INCIDENTALLY, THE A340 ALSO HAS A SLOWER CLIMB RATE, PROBABLY BECAUSE OF ITS 4 SMALL PUNY ENGINES.
I REMEMBER ON A FLIGHT FROM ATH-JFK, OLYMPIC AIRLINES A340 SERVICE SEEMED LIKE AN ETERNITY TO CLIMB TO CRUISING ALTITUDE.
PLANE CRAZY!!!!!!!!
 
Lufthansa
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RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 11:13 am

Great to see intellegent
contributions all round? Don't you think folks.
 
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BlueSky1976
Posts: 1893
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 9:18 am

RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 11:22 am

PBogdos: blame the airline for the uncomfortable seats and the lousy entertainment system - not the manufacturer. Airbus sold Olympic what Olympic asked for.
Next time, try Scandinavian A340 for a change. You'll see my point.
Proudly avoiding 737 MAX since 18.11.2020.
 
YYZ4RADD
Posts: 121
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:32 am

RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 11:47 am

Ahhhh....the flying for love. ( Tobetruie )

I have done that too, fortunately my girl didnt' punch me. She married me (it remains to be be seen if that was a good thing!! LOL)

Anyways on my trip of love after meeting her on the net I flew on the beautiful Airbus A330-200 and then on a yucky (757)!!!

The second time I went to meet her and get married I flew on a old and ugly 767 (lol) and on a A320.

On the way back I met the beautiful (C-GKOM ...also known well as the Air Canada A345)....at YYZ...

I love Airbus planes and Boeing planes, I think the 727, 747 and 777 are beautiful planes. As for the 7E7 the jury is still out on it, nobody knows how its gonna turn out....I am sure Boeing will do a good job.!

But......for some reason all aerospace engineeers I meet say the best planes they ever worked on were the Lockheed Tristars and the MD planes...

In my line of work, I meet a lot of aerospace engineers....from all companies....today I met someone from Bomardier, last week it was from Boeing, etc...

Regards,

YYZ4RADD
 
Sabena 690
Posts: 6065
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:48 am

RE: A340: A Necessary Mistake?

Wed Jul 21, 2004 6:47 pm

Thank you for your very valuable contribution, Pbogdos.  Insane

As far as I know, meal service and seating comfort has nothing to do with the aircraft type, but with the airline. But oh well, if you want to believe all that...

And if you really want to climb almost vertically, join the USAF and become a fighter pilot.

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